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23-Year-Old Far-Right Campaigner Jailed For Inciting Racial Hatred

Joshua Bonehill-Paine was jailed for more than three years on Thursday after being found guilty of inciting racial hatred by making posters promoting an "anti-Jewification" rally in north London.

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A 23-year-old far-right campaigner who made posters referencing the Holocaust for an "anti-Jewification" rally in north London has been jailed for inciting racial hatred.

Joshua Bonehill-Paine, from Somerset, was convicted for his part in promoting an anti-Jewish rally in the north London suburb of Golders Green, which has a large Jewish population, on 4 July.

The self-proclaimed "leader of the Fascist movement", Bonehill-Paine was described by police as the "originator" of offensive posters designed to promote the event on his website, which is still online.

Metropolitan police arrested him at his home on 26 June and brought him to London, where was remanded in custody.

Mark Weekes, prosecuting, told Southwark crown court that the posters were "clearly and deliberately insulting to the Jewish community, the community most readily associated with the gas chambers of the Holocaust".

Judge Leonard QC said the poster amounted to "about the most inflammatory documents I will ever see" and said he hoped Bonehill-Paine would mature with time and understand the harm he had caused.

During the trial, Bonehill-Paine had described the posters – which openly referred to the Holocaust – as a "joke".

But private emails and Skype conversations uncovered by police and submitted as evidence showed that Bonehill-Paine had said: "I must take a stand as I see Jews taking dominion over white folk."

Half his sentence of three years and four months will be spent out on licence.

Bonehill-Paine's posters depicted concentration camps and described the rally as an "anti-Jewification" event. One said it promised to be an "absolute gas" while another poster clearly showed a cartoon Hitler face.

A prominent figure among far-right activists online, and once described as Britain's most prolific troll, Bonehill-Paine was active on at least two of his own websites as well as YouTube and Twitter.

BuzzFeed News understands that Bonehill-Paine is the subject of separate police complaints, relating to his activity on Twitter, but the Met declined to confirm or deny whether it was investigating these.

In April he claimed to have set up a fake account for former Conservative minister and TV presenter Michael Portillo, which then posted a photoshopped image to make it look like he had come "under attack by an antifascist".

Bonehill-Paine already had a string of previous convictions.

He was handed a two-year community order and told to complete 180 hours of community service for starting a false online rumour in 2013 that a pub in Leicester was refusing to serve members of the armed services. The pub later received bomb threats and abusive phone calls.

He admitted a charge of making a malicious communication, but later failed to attend supervision appointments or provide a medical excuse note within the permitted time.

At a court hearing before Yeovil magistrates in February, Bonehill-Paine was found guilty of six counts of malicious communications, for branding five people religious zealots, homosexuals, and paedophiles in online "wanted" posters – but he was spared jail and given a suspended prison sentence.

In another court hearing at Stevenage magistrates' in October, a judge cleared him for writing two articles in which he said disabled babies should be killed and said he was exercising his freedom of speech.

Police and campaign groups welcomed today's sentence.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Barnes, who led the investigation for the Met, said: "The Met fully understands the hurt that is felt in communities affected by this type of crime. It is only by continually working with communities that we can ensure they are safe and free from fear.

"As this case demonstrates, there is no place for people inciting racial hatred under the guise of protest and those that do this will be investigated and brought before the courts to answer for this crime."

The Community Security Trust, a group that campaigns against antisemitism and which passed on the Bonehill-Paine posters to the police, welcomed his conviction.

Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Patrick Smith at patrick.smith@buzzfeed.com.

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